This video is a quick overview of the process:
Step 1: Materials and Equipment
- Wood Veneer - Make sure you're getting an untreated wood that is NOT paper backed. Stick with common types of wood - maple, walnut, cherry, etc. It's even better if it's a tree that grows something you eat (like the ones I just listed.) Some exotic wood species have naturally occurring chemicals that you don't really want to consume.
- Wood Glue - Make absolutely sure that the label says it is approved for food contact (indirect food contact is fine.)
- Waxed Paper - It's handy in the gluing process to prevent things sticking where they don't belong.
- Parchment Paper - Use this when you actually bake something in your dish - the finished product isn't water (or batter) tight and you may not want food touching it directly anyway.
- Scissors and/or a Utility Knife - Cut the wood veneer with this. Make sure you have lots of blades if you're using a utility knife.
- Clamps - Find all the small clamps you own before you start.
- Masking Tape - Keep everything in place.
- Clean Brushes - You'll need a brush for water and a brush for glue.
- Small Container - You'll need some water handy for the bending part of the process. Any clean little jar will get this done.
Step 2: Pattern
The most important thing is the grain direction - if the grain runs parallel to the fold line the wood will break. It needs to run perpendicular to the fold for strength. If grain direction didn't matter you could make these with much fewer pieces. I've marked the grain direction on the pattern pieces, make sure to align everything properly.
Step 3: Cut the Veneer
Cut out the pieces. I prefer to use scissors, but some tight corners require intervention with a utility knife. Cut everything as accurately as you possibly can. Use a few light cuts with the knife instead of trying to cut through on one try. If you veneer is cracking and breaking a lot stick some masking tape over the cutting line before you cut - that should give the wood the support it needs.
Step 4: Glue the Flat Parts
After applying the glue be sure to clamp pieces together or place them under a heavy weight like a stack of books.
Step 5: Soften the Fold Lines
Gently start bending the wood into the shape it needs to be. Bending it too aggressively can break it. Take your time.
Step 6: Finish It!
If areas warped or pulled loose from their original gluing you can fix it. After the entire dish dries completely, touch a bit of water onto whatever isn't right, then clamp it into the right shape. Let that dry to set, and repeat for any other bad spots.
Step 7: Bake Something Delicious
If you need to clean your dishes use the smallest amount of water possible and avoid soap. Wood is kind of spongy and you probably don't want your food to taste like your dishwashing soap.